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       Tuesday, September 19, 2006

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The interview on 19 September by John Robbie - a talk-jock at Radio 702 Joburg, of David Gleason (, publisher, financial editor & journalist, former senior bwana at mining group, Anglo American in Zambia, former Chairman of the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Zambia, organizer of the funding for the Black Lechwe project...), had a bit of rugby about it: a hard pass from the former Greyhounds and Ireland scrummie smacking Gleason in the eye, being introduced by Robbo as “the former columnist with Business Day who was fired and now has his own independent column”, then being given a sound bite to express his concern at the proposed Legacy move of two hotels, a golf course and 300 or so riverside chalets into our tiny Mosi oa Tunya National Park in Livingstone, Zambia, the equivalent of Legacy Hotels moving their Sandton Michael Angelo hotel out to Joburg Zoo Lake under a bit of enrichment camouflage. This brief engagement with a carrier of environmental and business concern was followed, after an agonizing assault of advertising and an interesting interview of an attorney on credit issues, by a soft, slightly forward pass from Robbo right on the tryline to good old Bart Dorrenstein ranging up alongside, Legacy’s Big Man ‘imself, “Good to see you again, Bart Dorrenstein, now what is this all about....?” Bart replies, kindly, reasonable, bending doubtless forward in unctuous capitalist sincerity – “No, no...we have had no dealings with politicians, only the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA). Of course, I did meet the Zambian President, a fine gentleman, but only in a group. And of course we are submitting an environmental impact assessment, and so on...” And so on. And no more Gleason...did he have to hang on to the phone for an hour while all this was going on? Finally, Robbo, in a repeat of the time he and old Nasty Booter and good old Dan Retief were gathered on the DSTV rugger programme, Boots and All, to give whatfor to the Griqua Emperor-President of the South African Rugby Union, the formidable nut-squeezer of Griqua scrums, Brian van Rooyen, but then deciding through a pheromone infusion process that driver ants use to communicate, that discretion and a bit of sycophancy was collectively in order, sums up by saying, “Well, Bart, good luck with the project!” Nice.

Not much here, really. Except that on Saturday 29 July 2006, - before the go-ahead of the Livingstone Town Council, the National Heritage Conservation Commission, the Environmental Council of Zambia and the people of Livingstone and other operators – let alone UNESCO, who are in charge of World Heritage Sites, had been obtained, Vice-President Lupando Mwape of Zambia laid the foundation stone of the Legacy Holdings, Mosi-oa-Tunya Hotel and Golf Estate development in the World Heritage Site in Livingstone, assuring the gathered notables (Chairman of Legacy Holdings Zambia , J.J. Sikazwe, who ushered in the Citizens Economic Empowerment Act into Zambia; Renatus Mushinge, the Legacy Holdings Development Director and brother of the Financial Director of the Zambia Wildlife Authority, Tom Mushinge – who issued the TCA (Tourism Concession Agreement) to Legacy; and Bart and other Legacy Joburg Directors, of course) that “Those who have been hero-worshipped somewhere else based on misdirected superiority complex will not be worshipped in Livingstone” referring to paleface tourist operator investors who because of a precipitous fall in the dollar were having to reduce staff, now appearing so infinitesimally small and mean-spirited in the glare of the Legacy empowerment boast that they would provide permanent employment for 1000 Zambians. Now who put the Veep up to this one?

And the Environmental Council of Zambia, as of yesterday, had still not received the EIA from Legacy, promised them at the end of August, and there is no news from our Livingstone team of the long awaited scoping exercise which requires that civil society be consulted. And the recent five-day Mosi oa Tunya National Park workshop held by ZAWA was abysmal by all reports, the organizers announcing in the middle of the workshop that they were putting out more lodge sites for tender in the Park and could not wait for the finalization of a park management plan in order to do so.

Now the thing is that we all want Legacy to come to Livingstone, but not in the Park, not close to Livingstone so that their projected 300 000 visitors a year will bring all traffic to a standstill on the one road available, lock-out for ever the people from an area used by them for a few centuries and block for all time the main elephant migration route. There is an alternative site available. Why don’t Legacy do us all a favour and pack their wagons and trek over there?

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posted by ipam at 6:12 PM  


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